Nexus today announced a chosen manufacturer for its contract to build new trains for the Tyne and Wear Metro, as part of a £362m investment which will transform performance and passenger experience, deliver huge energy savings and secure and create hundreds of jobs in the UK supply chain.
The Department for Transport has confirmed it is providing £337m to Nexus towards funding the cost of the programme, as the Government invests in the North of England’s economy.
Stadler, the Swiss train builder currently delivering new trains for Glasgow and Liverpool, has been chosen by Nexus after an 18-month global search for the best manufacturing partner for 42 new trains to be delivered up to 2024.
The company will work with more than 30 new supply chain partners in the UK advanced manufacturing, technology and construction sectors, half of them in North East England, creating and securing hundreds of skilled jobs.
Stadler will also build and run a £70m new maintenance facility at Metro’s current depot site in South Gosforth, Newcastle, as part of the deal, creating scores more jobs in construction and employing around 100 people directly.
Nexus and Stadler today unveiled the fully-realised design for new Metro trains, based on the ideas and suggestions of more than 3,000 passengers.
The new trains will cut Metro’s high voltage power consumption by 30% while providing 15 times better reliability than the current fleet. Metro’s 36 million passengers will benefit from modern features including wifi, charging points, air conditioning and a step-change in accessibility.
Among new features will be an automatic sliding step at every door of the new trains, making travel easier for Metro’s 50,000 wheelchair passengers as well as people with children’s buggies, luggage or bicycles.
Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris said: “The DfT’s £337m investment heralds a new era for the Tyne and Wear Metro, providing passengers with greener, more reliable, and more comfortable journeys.
“Upgrading the Metro fleet will boost our economy, improve journeys for passengers and underlines our determination to level up opportunity and connectivity across the country.”
Councillor Martin Gannon, Leader of Gateshead Council and Chair of the Joint Transport Committee for North East England, said: “We have a bold vision for transport in North East England, and a world-class Metro system is the key to unlocking this transformation.
“We have secured Government investment in our region for new Metro trains which will meet the needs of our people for decades to come, secure hundreds of jobs and help us tackle the climate emergency.
“These new trains will be rooted in our region – they are designed based what more than 3,000 passengers told us what they wanted from their daily journey. They will be built and brought into service by exploiting manufacturing excellence in new supply chains here in North East England and across the UK. They will be maintained and operated by the proud workers who make Metro happen.”
Tobyn Hughes, the Managing Director of Nexus, the public body which owns and operates Metro, said: “Our passengers expect the best in the world when they travel, and that is what they will get from our new trains.
“Stadler has an excellent track record building new trains for cities and regions across the world. The company will put in place new supply chains here in North East England and the UK securing local jobs. I am delighted to welcome Stadler as we make this historic £362m investment in Metro’s future.
“We asked for the best trains for the best price – based on what local people said they wanted to see, providing excellent reliability for years to come, transforming the passenger experience and delivering huge energy savings.
“Stadler has delivered on all fronts, and we look forward to working with our new partner and the extensive UK supply chain which will support them not just to build new trains but maintain them over the next 35 years.”
Stadler Director of Sales, Ansgar Brockmeyer said: “The contract with Nexus represents an important milestone for Stadler in Great Britain. After Glasgow and Liverpool, this is the third metro operator to opt for a Stadler vehicle. We look forward to working with Nexus and our suppliers in North East England.”
Jürg Gygax, director of Stadler's Service division, added: “This order for Stadler Service clearly shows how Stadler implements a complete service package – this marks a massive step into the future. We are very much looking forward to embarking on a long, productive partnership with Nexus, which will span 35 years.”
Nexus has entered into a £300m contract with Stadler to build new trains and a depot as part of a £362m investment, which also includes construction led by Nexus of a satellite depot at Howdon, North Tyneside, and wider project costs and contingencies.
The initial order of 42 trains may be increased to 46 if Nexus plans to increase the frequency of Metro through the Flow Project, win Government funding.
The total value of the partnership between Nexus and Stadler, which will include decommissioning of the existing Metro fleet, could rise to £700m over 35 years, through a contract to maintain the new trains for up to 35 years depending on performance. The Department for Transport will also provide revenue support to help meet the maintenance costs of the new trains.